PRESS RELEASE – European Anglers Alliance – Brussels, 2 September 2013
In a show of unity, Europe’s anglers have come together to call for farmed Atlantic salmon to be produced in closed or contained farm systems.
A resolution passed last week at the general assembly of the European Anglers Alliance (EAA), representing the interests of 3 million recreational anglers across 13 European nations, demands that all farmed Atlantic salmon should be produced in closed systems.
EAA also urges all fish farming nations across Europe to pursue rapid development towards more sustainable practices that reduce the impact on wild salmon populations and urges policy makers to use the “precautionary principle” and “polluter pays principle” to facilitate a rapid transition towards more environmentally friendly and sustainable salmon farming practices.
Escaped farmed salmon and sea lice infestations continue to have a devastating impact on wild Atlantic salmon and Europe’s seatrout populations – many of which have seen severe declines, or have been destroyed completely. So far, the focus has been to fish-out escaped farmed salmon as well as using chemical and biological measures to remove lice in the farms. These measures have unfortunately not solved the problems.
Closed or contained systems, either at sea or on land, would reduce the infestation of sea lice among farmed fish, reduce the risk of farmed fish escaping into the environment and dramatically reduce the damage done by waste, pollutants and chemical residues from disease treatment entering the natural environment.
Jan Kappel, EAA’s Secretary General, said: “It may come as a surprise to most people that in many rivers there are more farmed than wild salmon. The escaped farmed fish compete with and genetically pollute our wild salmon stocks. It is well known that sea lice spread from the salmon farms and harm wild salmon stocks. To our greatest surprise Norway has banned recreational angling in the Hardangerfjord where salmon stocks have declined due to the impact from extensive salmon farming. This doesn’t make sense. The polluter should be managed before other legitimate and sustainable users like recreational anglers are denied access to what used to be healthy salmon stocks.”